It was entertainment galore at the expansive lawn of the
Goethe-Institut as the Sotiris Papadopoulos Salvador Sango
band thrilled music lovers from all walks of life. Dele
The Green Area of the
Goethe-Institut was filled to capacity on Saturday as
distinguished personalities which comprised a large chunk of
the diplomatic community and high profile Nigerians enjoyed
the sensuous beat of Sotiris Papadopoulos’ Salvador Sango
band. In his introductory speech, shortly before the
commencement of the Afro Salsa concert, Arne Schneider,
Director of the Goethe-Institut said the Salvador Sango band
is a world renowned musical group with a reputation for
bridging cultural gaps through the medium of their unique kind
of music. He also thanked the embassy of the Federal Republic
of Germany and the electronics giants, Siemens for sponsorship
considerations which made the event possible.
It is hard to classify Salvador
Sango music. It is a musical blend that represents today’s
reality of the World i.e., that people and cultures are no
longer as far apart as they used to be.
According to Akin
Onasanya, a band member, “this is a group of people who have
digested the big truth that we are all one.” The band plays a
strange but wonderful mix of afro Beat, Latin American rhythm,
and European rock music.
The members come from places as
far apart as Europe and Africa but those who see them on and
off stage would think that they were all born in the same
hospital and that they have been playing together all their
lives. They handle salsa, flamenco and jazz with the same ease
with which they handle Yoruba folklore, juju music and gospel.
What is interesting about this
remarkable feat is the sheer fact it is not the result of
academic training cum technical ability alone - probably not
at all - but rather the result of being able to identify
completely and deeply with what they do. Sotiris Papadopoulos
told the Comet “it is hard sometimes to draw the dividing line
between the spectrums of geographical styles when we play.”
With the exception of their band
leader, the rest have one thing in common: they all learnt
music in the church, but share two things in common; their
love for music and the dream of spreading their musical and
spiritual message across the world.
lead-singer, guitarist, vocalist, and composer was born on
September 17, 1956, in Volos, Greece. A physicist by training,
Sotiris holds a PhD in Atomic Physics from Oxford but left the
academic and research world for the great love of his life:
He showed an interest in music
at a comparatively late age. At 17, he started singing rock
for his first local band, Eternal Wealth. After high school,
he left Greece for Germany to study Physics. There he picked
up the guitar and started imitating Jimi Hendrix and other
rock guitar greats. During his years in Germany, he developed
a passion for Latin and Spanish music and played with various
local bands including a commercial one that made waves in the
local entertainment scene.
In 1980, he travelled to Nigeria
where he played with the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti and
developed a keen interest in African rhythm. After his studies
and various jobs in Europe and Asia, the dream of music
brought him to Africa and he came to Nigeria in 1988.
the years that followed, Sotiris played with numerous bands
and local stars as a leader and as a sideman/guest including
Dizzy Gillespie in Port Harcourt in 1989, as well as his well
known band, SPICE.
In 2004, he formed Sotiris which
later became Salvador Sango, his artistic pseudonym. Other
members of this wonderful group include Tosin Oyedele, Segun
Adeshola, Daniel Adegbola, and Dare Akinlagun.
jazz exponent Tee Mac and other music loving Nigerians graced
Mr Oluwatosin John Oni, a
computer engineer praised the band for its wonderful
performance. “I could not believe that a Greek national could
speak Yoruba this well. It is also intriguing to see Nigerians
sing South American songs with such brilliant expertise. It’s
simply thrilling,” said Oni.